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Brave New World [Paperback]

Aldous Huxley
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (227 customer reviews)

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Book Description

18 Jun 2001

Part of the Voyager Classics collection

Far in the future, the World Controllers have finally created the ideal society. In laboratories worldwide, genetic science has brought the human race to perfection. From the Alpha-Plus mandarin class to the Epsilon-Minus Semi-Morons, designed to perform menial tasks, man is bred and educated to be blissfully content with his pre-destined role.

But, in the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre, Bernard Marx is unhappy. Harbouring an unnatural desire for solitude, feeling only distaste for the endless pleasures of compulsory promiscuity, Bernard has an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress…

Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Voyager; New edition edition (18 Jun 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000711589X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007115891
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13.2 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (227 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 430,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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‘A brilliant tour de force, Brave New World may be read as a grave warning of the pitfalls that await uncontrolled scientific advance.’ Observer

‘Equally a denunciation of capitalism and communism, so far as they discourage man from thinking freely, Brave New World is one of the most important books to have been published since the war.’ Daily Telelgraph

‘Such ingenious wit, derisive logic and swiftness of expression, Huxley’s resources of sardonic invention have never been more brilliantly displayed.’ The Times

Book Description

'One of the most important books to have been published since the war' Daily Telegraph --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
90 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The future? 11 April 2009
By hendrix
Society really is getting more and more like this.

This is a vision of the future where the population is controlled by subtlety and manipulation, the basic premise being that if people are too doped up to realise that they have been conned by a tiny minority who have everything then that elite can remain in charge for ever.

In Huxley's world the method of control is to program people to indulge only their most transitory and materialistic desires all of which can be fulfilled quite readily and in doing so suppress any idea that there "might be more to life than this" and this leaves the population with happy but trivial lives.

The morality of this is questioned through the introduction of an outsider to the society and his actions form the basis of the plot. To be honest I think the story isn't as involving as the world it is set in but the questions the book raised easily merit this book classic status.

It seems we are getting closer and closer to the kind of happy trivial life that Huxley forced upon his population and if you are inclined to wonder whether or not there is more to life than work and shopping then this book is probably going to be right up your street.
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129 of 134 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Huxley was a great mind. 3 Oct 2005
After years of hearing people refer to Brave New World - both online and in real life - I decided to read it myself and find out just what all the commotion was about. Having done so, I will share my thoughts with you.
The story is set in a future society where humans are no longer born but instead grown from embryos in huge research labs. Years of trial and error has resulted in scientists being able to produce up to 15,000 individuals from a single embryo - all of which end up being twins. Immediately they are conditioned to think and feel and act in certain ways which make society what it should be - happy, stable, strong, and united. As they sleep they are played voice recordings which, to cut a long story short, programme them into what society wants them to be. One of the many recordings being "Everyone belongs to everyone else".
In a time when humans are made in batches, pyshcologically conditioned, mentally and physically matured in a fraction of the natural time, encouraged to participate in 'errotic play' from a young age, given 'soma' (a recreational drug) to cure lows, taught to throw out old/dirty/torn clothes and buy new ones, sheltered from dirt and disease, prevented from ever becoming pregnant, told that everyone belongs to everyone else (in effect everyone has sex with everyone without thinking twice as from a young age this is taught to be perfectly natural), given medicine so that you physically look like a 20 year old all your life until around the age of 50 when you drop dead, after hearing all this you are left with many questions. Questions like 'How could it ever work?', 'What would a society of clones be like?', 'Why on earth did they do it in the first place?', and 'Is everyone truly happy?'.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Frightening Dystopia 4 Sep 2003
Five hundred or so years into the future, and the our very existence as human beings has been taken control by the World Controllers. The primary goal of this dystopian situation is to create a global happiness, a mutual harmony between all humans. But all humans are no longer equal, depending on birth process defined by the controller, Alphas are at the top, intellectually superior in everyway, followed by Betas, all the way down to Episilons who are produced in large bundles, human mass production. That covers the main situation, although their are many other factors and conditions in this new world.
The first part of the book follows Bernard Marx, a slightly irregular Alpha plus human. This is where the conflict against conformity arises, as he starts to behave more like an individual. The second part of the book introduces John Savage, the son of a woman from the Dystopian society, but brought up amongst indians in the savage reservation. John acts as an individual caught between two cultures, conditioned by his mother, but aware of freedom through the local indians in the puebla.
Brave New World is one of Huxley's great masterpieces, much ahead of his time in thought and literary creativity. It raises some serious questions about the way the world was heading at the time, published a few years before the Second World War, a time of scientific breakthrough and experimentation, beginning of mass consumption. The work is comparable to Yevgeny Zamyatin's famous novel, We, also about a dystopian society, but written just over ten years before Brave New World, obviously another novel with a similar theme is Orwell's classic 1984, which all make very enjoyable reads.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "When the individual feels, the community reels" 4 July 2007
I read this book shortly after reading 1984 - having heard them being compared - and it definitely provided a good contrast. While Orwell's vision is dark, gloomy, filled with hate and despair, Huxley's world could almost be seen as a Utopian fantasy.

There is an overwhelming sense of comfort and "happiness" within society that is brought about through two important things: recreational drugs and psychological conditioning. Death, relationships, class differences and work do not provide worry. This is in fact what makes Huxley's work so brilliant: it portrays a Dystopia that operates so perfectly that it is disquieting rather than frightening. Because society does indeed work for the good of everyone in a hedonistic sense, the logic behind the system can only be challenged by pure human instinct, as voiced by the central character in the book: "But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin."

However, although the book brings up excellent questions regarding totalitarianism, and freedom of thought, it is somewhat lacking in story. The characters are very hard to empathise with and although the book starts with a central character, Bernard Marx, the focus shifts then to John ("the Savage"), leaving you with a sense that the novel is written for description rather than story-telling. The reader is able to get a very good mental grasp on the problems within society, but since the story isn't gripping, you finish the book feeling very detached from the characters and the world they live in.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Kindle Sample
The kindle sample contains none of the actual text of the book, only two very long introductions. Very disappointing as I like to try a sample before I buy a book.
Published 6 hours ago by Matthew McCann
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable
A remarkable piece of literature for its time. Well written and interesting characters. Once I got into it I found it difficult to put down.
Published 1 day ago by steve coldrick
4.0 out of 5 stars Declaration of Intent
We cannot say we weren't warned of the world in which we now exist.

I saw an advertisement in the newspaper (gosh they're losing relevance, aren't they? Read more
Published 6 days ago by Daniel Rozman
4.0 out of 5 stars Must-read fiction
Down-loaded to my Kindle for convenience.
First read the book whilst studying for highers back in the 1950's
Always meant to go back to read for enjoyment.
Published 12 days ago by John M.McGregor
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic concept, hugely influential
I read this novel shortly after reading Orwell's '1984', and so I subconsciously compared the two as I read Huxley's classic. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jonathan R
5.0 out of 5 stars Stay away from the foreword!
I really enjoyed this book and provided me with an interesting dystopian idea. The characters seamlessly aligned with descriptions of how society functioned and how that would... Read more
Published 1 month ago by nadia
5.0 out of 5 stars always loved it
always loved this story - good writer - good writer equals good story and always will - but where are they
Published 1 month ago by Jan
4.0 out of 5 stars Brave New World
A little flowery in its writting for me showing obvious sign its its use of launguge as to when it was written. Read more
Published 1 month ago by A. F. Mercer
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic adaptation of a conditioned society
Set in a dystopian society, where the 'cultured' intelligent civilisation are bred and conditioned through genetic heirarchy into the different classes that will determine their... Read more
Published 1 month ago by M. J. Penny
5.0 out of 5 stars No wonder this was a must read in schools
I read this book after stumbling across the surprisingly excellent 'The age of Aquarius' by A W Findlay and wanting to read something with similar themes. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Sorina C
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